Miranda was just 20 years old when she had her first abnormal Pap test. Four years later, doctors discovered a tumor in her cervical canal. Since having a family was a priority for Miranda, for treatment she investigated alternative surgeries that would not require removal of the uterus.
My name is Miranda Ashman and this is my story about being a cervical cancer survivor. At age 20 I had my first abnormal Pap test, and was devastated and ashamed. Four years later, after close monitoring by my doctors, I was told I needed a cone biopsy to better diagnose the abnormal cells. The biopsy discovered a tumor in my cervical canal. The stage of the cancer was difficult to gauge, so a series of MRI and PET imaging tests were conducted. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 B1 cervical cancer at age 24 and I was told I needed a radical hysterectomy.
Given that I was quite young and I wanted to have a family some day, I researched alternative options and found that some women my age underwent a procedure called a radical trachelectomy. This surgery only removes the cervix, and preserves the uterus and ovaries. Most young women are able to become pregnant after a successful trachelectomy, and that was a priority for me at the time. My team of physicians agreed to try the procedure, and performed a pelvic lymphadenectomy to ensure that the cancer had not metastasized. If even one lymph node were positive, I would not have the surgery at all, and would require radiation and chemo. It was a very uncertain and scary process. The surgery was a success, and I've been healthy for 8 years.
If your life has been touched by cervical cancer in some way, we want to hear it from you. Your personal story can help us inspire others to get tested for cervical cancer or cope with the cervical cancer diagnosis.